Monday, February 22, 2016

Keep Yourselves From Idols

Dear Children,
Keep yourselves from idols.
I John 5:21

Recently, a friend of mine asked me to look at houses with him. We began our search through the Internet to pick out the ones he wanted to see. Afterwards, he called a realtor in the area.

There was one property in particular that got our attention. As we viewed the house, we noticed there were pictures of different gods hanging in several of the rooms. Then when we toured the ground, we discovered two large wooden platforms with concrete idols on them.  As I inquired of the Lord, he told me this was like the idols of old in Isaiah’s time. I knew this form of worship still existed but it was strange to see it in an area so close to me. Needless to say, if my friend chose this property, he would have to make sure all the idols were gone and the land was cleansed.

Most of us in the Christian world cannot really identify with statues and that kind of idol. So let’s go a little closer.

What is an idol? Idols are anything that distracts us from the one true God who is our identity and true source of supply. We are drawn to idols because they can foster our need to be loved and accepted . Then of course, we have them to help us in our time of need. (But do they?)

As I thought about this more, I asked the Lord for a deeper meaning. This is what he gave me.

I     Deny     Our     Lord
access to my life.

What does it mean to deny?

·      to refuse to agree with
·      to withhold possession
·      to refuse to recognize or acknowledge
·      to withhold accessibility

In other words, when we deny the Lord, we are not allowing his influence to reign over a particular area of our life.

Now… most of us can name some of the biggie idols that we could have… our career, pride and ego, materialism, sports figures, TV personalities, children or even grandchildren. However, let’s dig a little different direction. How about…

·      Negative attitudes and criticisms of others, the need to be right
·      Offenses, bitterness, and unforgiveness
·      Worry and guilt
·      What others will think of me

Suddenly, idols may be closer to home then what we would like to admit. Idols are sneaky, if you are not vigilant. You give them an inch and they can take a mile. They start out innocently but slowly dig deep roots into our heart. Idols take away our sense of spiritual reasoning and choice. The thing about idols is, when you get in a pinch and really need the power to overcome, idols have no power to save you from whatever you are going through.

So what is the answer?  The real answer is not an idol at all. It is a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. He is not man made idol but  the true Son of God who has the power and grace to help us through whatever situation we face. If you haven't met Him personally, I encourage you to seek him out. Discovering Jesus's love for you will change your life forever.

The devil comes to kill, steal and destory but I have come to give you life and that more abundantly. 
John 10:10

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Melinda's Desire

The old car needed to many repairs! As Melinda prayed about the situation, her mind wandered back to an old Cadillac that had been given to her second hand years before. She smiled as she thought about that light blue beauty being the perfect car. It was a little worn but still roomy and luxurious inside. For her, it wasn’t just something that carried her from place to place but she felt special and set apart. Her meager circumstances seem to melt away as she dreamed of greatness for a time to come. Oh how my heart would sing if I could have that feeling again, she thought. Then, reality began to creep in again. I really need an economy car not a big luxury car; she contemplated with a sigh, a small one that gets good gas mileage. And with those thoughts securely in place, Melinda began her Internet search of the near by dealerships.

After a prayer, Melinda began to look for a car at the three local dealerships; she found it didn’t take long before the car hunt became frustrating.  She looked earnestly and honestly for one economy version after another but there were none she could afford or get excited about…none that made her feel like she wanted to take them home for a long time. Annoyed she began to pray again.

Then…she got a tip.

“Go to Moore’s.” the salesman at the Ford dealership said, “They may have what you want and they’ll make you an honest deal.”

Feeling like the Holy Spirit was leading her, Melinda decided to
try it out. What could she lose and she was running out of options.

As Melinda surveyed the car lot at Moore’s, her eyes seem to gravitate towards a black 2005 Lexus SUV. “I don’t think I can afford that Lord!” she assumed. Nevertheless, she looked inside and a smile came over her face. This car has more luxury then the Cadillac and it was roomy too. I could get excited about taking this car home Lord, she mused.

Was God providing Melinda with something she desired instead of having to settle for the car she thought she needed? Turns out, that is exactly what God was doing as He lead her by faith to negotiate the details over the next few days. For Melinda, this car was God doing something extra special for her, something far beyond what she had imagined he would do for her. She felt abundantly blessed and now continues to praise God for His generosity.

What is your need and deepest desire? Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us to focus on Him as we put those needs and desires into His loving hands. He is a good God and wants to bless us with good gifts. God not only wants to answer our requests but at times go beyond what we have asked for to what He knows we really desire. Go ahead…think big!

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works with us.

Ephesians 3:20